States are re-engineering their workforce development systems because of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). One of the primary workforce system challenges is that too many adults lack the skills or credentials required for in-demand jobs. Of those who lack the skills for in-demand jobs, many do not know how to access information and training needed for the in-demand jobs. The second major challenge is to prepare students to be college and career ready. A 2015 survey found that that 78% of college faculty and 62% of employers believe that public high schools are not doing enough to prepare students for the expectations they will face in college and the working world. In addition, it is estimated that by 2020, 65 percent of all jobs will require some form of postsecondary education or training. WIOA provides the framework and direction to state governments to realign their workforce and educations systems to meet these challenges.
WIOA core programs include the federally funded adult, dislocated worker and youth services programs, the Wagner-Peyser program, adult education and literacy programs and rehabilitation services programs. States are developing strategic plans for these programs and implementing WIOA through new programs and extensive collaboration between departments of workforce development, education, labor, human services and the state and local workforce development boards. This research brief reviews critical state strategies for implementing WIOA and is part three of a three-part series providing an overview of WIOA.